Nancy Mumby-Welke lives in rural Saginaw County, MI; yesterday morning she was about to let her horses out when she discovered the crashed, humming remains of a Samsung satellite on her property. Read the rest
Alan Wendt writes, "Detroit commissioners arrested the police commissioner Willie Burton during a public meeting because he wouldn't stop talking about the secret meetings where the commission decided to install facial recognition systems." Read the rest
Municipal broadband is pretty much the telco monopolists' worst nightmare: it's a cheaper, faster alternative and it's the only internet service that customers express high levels of satisfaction for, so it's no wonder that telcoms lobbyists have convinced 26 states to ban cities from providing internet access, sometimes literally drafting the legislation and handing it off to lawmakers. Read the rest
Former Michigan Republican State Senator Patrick Colbeck has put together an ambitious, far-ranging educational "reform" package that is being voted on today by the Michigan State Board of Education. Read the rest
8 years after Scott Walker and his Koch-backed GOP used voter suppression and gerrymandering to steal control over Wisconsin, Wisconsites finally pried his crooked ass out of the governor's chair, but Walker and Co want to blow up the state on their way out. Read the rest
Republican state AGs were in the majority...until this months election, when the majority flipped, with the most climate-denying AGs (in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada) losing their jobs to Dems who ran on strong environmental platforms. Read the rest
For a generation, big box stores have swept across America, using predatory pricing and other dirty tricks to kill the independent retail sector; they used their corporate lobbying muscle to tempt cities and towns into handing out massive corporate welfare checks to lure them to town, and now, with the help of hustling contingency lawyers, they are promulgating a property-tax scam called "the dark store theory" that is cutting their taxes in half or more, with further reductions every year, and no end in sight. Read the rest
Michigan's brilliant businessman governor Rick Snyder has slashed the state's budget over and over, in service to an electorate who would vote for a smear of roadkill if it would promise to knock a dollar off their tax-bills. Read the rest
The University of Michigan's library recently acquired a copy of American Cheese, 20 Slices, by Ben Denzer, a book made from shelf-stable, plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese. Read the rest
Surya Raghavendran started fixing phones when Apple tried to charge him $120 to fix the defective screen they'd installed in his phone; instead, he followed online instructional videos and fixed it himself. Read the rest
Mike DeWaele writes, "A group of homeless activists had maintained a peaceful occupation of Bronson Park in Kalamazoo for about a month in protests of a new ordinance that made it illegal to sleep in public parks. The protest was well organized, clean and well maintained- at one point involving up to 200 homeless citizens and their supporters, with extensive logistical support from the larger community. The protest had clearly articulated demands but the City Comission was willing to address them only on a very superficial level, with no comitment to action, and then only after weeks of public pressure. While the talks were still ongoing, the city manager ordered local police to clear the camp, which happened before his morning. Several homeless and other activists refused to vacate, including city commissioner Shannon Sykes, who had been the lone voice on the commission in (passionate) support of the encampment and who had spent several nights with the protest as a supporter and observer. Those activists have all been arrested on as yet unknown charges." Read the rest
In Michigan, a woman was arrested on charges that she bit off part of a man's ear, while she was fighting with him at a Chinese restaurant over food she'd ordered. The victim does not speak English as a first language, and had a hard time communicating. The woman who attacked him immediately lost custody of her child as a consequence. Read the rest
Gretchen Whitmer wants to be the Democratic governor of Michigan, and she has distinguished herself from her opponents Abdul El-Sayed, and Shri Thanedar by opposing single-payer healthcare and endorsing the broken, expensive, murderous private system, a subject she has deep expertise in thanks to being raised by Richard Whitmer, who built the family fortune during his 18-year tenure as president of Blue Cross of Michigan. Read the rest
Oh, Charter: Chad Pierce and his family bought a house in Newaygo, Michigan, but first they called their local cable monopoly, Charter/Spectrum, and confirmed verbally, online and in writing that the new house could get internet access. Read the rest
In Michigan's Wayne County, Prosecutor Kym Worthy has spent years processing 11,341 rape kits. The kits, found in 2009, were forgotten in a police storage warehouse, where they were routinely dumped without investigation.
Over 800 serial rapists, criminals who have struck 10-15 times without being stopped, were identified. 127 convictions have been made this far.
The Detroit Free Press' Nancy Kaffer interviewed Worthy:
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Q: All the things you were talking about, the better tracking system, the new guidelines for when rape kits get tested ... in the National Institute of Justice report on the backlog (by Michigan State University Professor Rebecca Campbell), the big takeaway there was that too often, officers didn't believe victims, and had used disbelief as a way to triage their workload.
A: They just closed cases, even cases where I think they believed the victim ... They closed cases because the women had worked as prostitutes or had mental illness issues or had substance abuse. Didn't believe them, didn't care, and this was one issue that led to the backlog of these kits.
Q: That's something we look for in certain victims — when the victim is a teenage boy of color, or a woman who has been raped, we want them to be perfect. They can't have had a drink or have worked as a prostitute, and if they have, there's a mindset that makes them almost ineligible to be a victim.
A: One of the reasons we have these untested rape kits ... and I can use Detroit as an example, 86% of our victims in these untested kits are people of color.